James Wayland Joyce.

England's sacred synods : a constitutional history of the convocations of the clergy, from the earliest records of Christianity in Britain to the date of the promulgation of the present Book of common prayer; including a list of all councils, ecclesiastical as well as civil, held in England, in whic online

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Online LibraryJames Wayland JoyceEngland's sacred synods : a constitutional history of the convocations of the clergy, from the earliest records of Christianity in Britain to the date of the promulgation of the present Book of common prayer; including a list of all councils, ecclesiastical as well as civil, held in England, in whic → online text (page 64 of 83)
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previously to Feb. 8, 1576 n.s. were to be void ; however, such as should appear tit
were to be admitted again to that function without any charge, save four-pence *
for the seal, writing, parchment, and wax.

Ninthly. None below a deacon was permitted to preach.

Tenthly. The bishops were to take order that the Church catechism should be
taught in every parish, and when there was no sermon, that the homilies should
be read in due order on each Sunday and holy day.

Eleventhly. The bishops were to see that all incumbents and curates under the
degree of M.A., not being preachers, should provide themselves with a New Tes-
tament in Latin and Enghsh, or Latin and Welsh, and read a chapter daily, com-
paring the translations ; and the archdeacons, commissaries, and officials at their
visitations were to give the clergy above mentioned some text out of the New
Testament, to be learnt without book or explained, and at the ensuing visitation
inquiry was to be made into the proficiency attained.

Twelfthly. Since f some doubts had arisen by what persons private baptism
should be administered, and since by the Common Prayer the bishop of the
diocese was recognized as the authorized arbiter in such ambiguities, it was now by
the archbishops and bishops expounded and resolved that the said private baptism
in case of necessity should only be ministered by a lawful minister or deacon,
called to be present for that purpose, and by none otfier. Fm-ther, every bishop
was to take order that this resolution of the above doubt should be published
before the first day of May ensuing in every parish church within his diocese in
the province of Canterbury ; and that all persons, except those before mentioned,
should be prevented from meddling with the administration of private baptism,
as being no part of their vocation.

Thirteenthly. No commutation of penance, except for urgent cause, was to be
allowed; and in any case it was to receive the bishop's consent under hand and

Fourteenthly. Archdeacons and others, possessed of ordinary jurisdiction, were
to summon those presented and impose punishment proportionable to the

Fifteenthly. Marriage J was allowed to be solemnized at all times of the year.

A.D. 1576.
Q. Eliz.

o Strype's
Giindal, p.

* This item is omitted in the printed copies. The above articles are digested
from the transcript of the copy which was in the possession of Whitgift the
prolocutor, and may be considered to be the synodical document. See Strype's
Grindal, App. p. 59, No. 4.

t This article is not in the printed copy. See Card. Syn. i. 137.

X This article is not in the printed copy. See Card. Syn. i. 138.




A.D. 1576.






Svn. i. 137.
q See
Grindal, p.

■• See Lath-
bury, p. 18.5
and notes.

'J J

630 note.

•Card. Two
Lit. p. 337.
Bui ley's
pp. 118, 119.
« See Card.
Syn. i. 133,

" Strype's
Grindal, p.
1.05, and
Coll. vi. 561.
Cone. Maor.
Brit. iv. 28.5.
" Card. Syn.
i. 132, note.

Some points for Now there are three point.s to be considered
iPt'.'L7these Irl i» reference to these articles of 1576 n.s.
'''^^^^- 1 . In the first place the twelfth article, relating

to lay baptism, is omitted in the printed p copy. But it is con-
itained i in the M8S. copies — one formerly in the Paper Office;
ione in the Petyt collection, which, indeed, was the prolocutor
Whitgift's own copy ; and one in Atterbury's collections,
which was transcribed from the convocation journals by the
learned Heylin, So that this article appears to have had the
authority of the southern synod ; and though not set in type
by the queen's printer, seems doubtlessly to have now received,
within the limit above stated, synodical sanction. Into this
question of lay baptism"^ in cases of necessity it would lead
too far here to enter. But this decision of the Canterbury
Synod, as contrasted with a late ^ learned judgment and its sub-
ject-matter, may supply matter for consideration to the reader.
We are also to consider that in accordance with this article
the words ^'■laioful" minister'''' were introduced into the rubric
before private baptism in the Prayer Book subsequently pub-
lished at the commencement of K. James I.'s reign, for the
practice of lay baptism had been allowed* by the earlier
reformed Prayer Books.

2. The second point here to be considered is that the fifteenth
article does not appear * in the printed copies, viz. that one
which permits marriage at all seasons of the year. This it
seems was disliked by the " queen, and the royal authority
prevailed before the document was submitted to Richard
•Tugge ', her printer. It must be confessed that the synodical
decision here does not fall in to complete satisfaction with
primitive usage ; still it does not follow that the interposition
of the sceptre was unexceptionably invoked in the endeavour
to strike this article dead. Nor in practice has the essay

3. The last remark to be made on these articles is that
they certainly are generally speaking the footstones on which
the present managements of our bishops are built, for regulat-
ing the choice, disposition, and licensing of their clergy. So

provided banns were duly published in church on three several Sundays or holy days,
and no impediment was alleged. — Cone. Mag. Brit. iv. 284-5. Coll. vi. 558. 56 L
* By Sir IL Jenner Fust on the subject of tlie burial of dissenters.




that not only are we indebted to the decisions of our provincial
synods for the articles of our Church, her ordinal, ritual, and
liturgy, but even for those minor details of arrangement which
complete the ecclesiastical fabric. And this is a fact of which
some persons of figure in this day require to be either informed,
or, to say the least, reminded.
^,, „ . . , The next active"^ provincial synod assembled

XI. Provincial ^ •' .

synods of 1581 on the'' 17th of January, 1581 n.s. m the
southern province, concurrently with that in
the^ northern. The last however appears to have been engaged
only in the business of granting their subsidy.

Cantertuiv Sy- The Canterbury Synod met at S. Paul's.
nod of 1581 k&. -Q^J^^^ as Edmund Grindal, the archbishop % was
Igroaning under the queen's displeasure, he was unable to
iattend. The archbishop was, indeed, in confinement, having
proved incompliant on the subject of repressing the " pi'ophe-
syings," i. e. certain meetings of the clergy for religious dis-
cussions, to which her majesty was extremely averse. In
his absence Ailmer, bishop of London, after divine service %
was substituted as president, and it ^ may be remarked that
there was no sermon on this occasion, it being a prerogative
of the archbishop to appoint the preacher. Bishop Ailmer,
in discharge of his office, desired the clergy to choose a pro-
locutor ; Dr. Whitgift, who lately held that position, having ""
been advanced to the bishopric of Worcester.

Dr. Day elected Three persons were recommended for the
prolocutor. ^g^gg ^f prolocutor, viz. Humphrey,., dean of

Winchester, Goodman, dean of Westminster, and Day, dean
of Windsor. The choice of the clergy, however, fell on the
latter gentleman. Some of the clergy on this occasion
expressed a difficulty which they felt as to the due constitu-
tion of the synod, now deprived of the metropolitan, and
shewed some unwillingness to proceed to business until " their
company ^ was completed and the archbishop restored/' This
conduct has drawn down upon them the animadversion of JSIr,
Fuller, who takes leave to call them "hotspurs." But as the
archbishop had not even been put upon his trial, much less
deprived for any canonical offence, it is not clear that those
who resented his compulsory absence deserved any such term
of disparagement, or that they were more forward in the field

A.D. 1576.
Q. Eliz.

A.D. 1581.
w Vid. tabu-
lar list and
note in re-
ference to
this date.
'^ Cone.
Ma?. Brit,
iv. 292.
Coll. vi.

Grindal, p.
256. Card.
Svn. ii. 541.
y Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 301-2.
^ Fuller,
Ch. Hist.
b. ix. p. 119. ,

a Sess. 1.
Jan. 17.
b Fuller,
Cli. Hist,
b. i.x. p. 119.

•^ Strype's
Crindal, p.


d Fuller,
Cb. Hist,
b. ix.p. 119.




— \612.

A.D. 1581.






^ Strypc's
Grindal. p.
257, and
Fuller, Ch.
Hist. b. ix.
p. 119.
f Fuller,
Ch. Hist,
pp. 120, 121.
e Coll. vi.\

h Sess. 2.
Jan. 25.

i Sess. 3.
Jan. 27.

J Str3-pe's
Ann. ii. 6!

k Strype's
Ann. ii. 628.

' See Sess.
5. Feb. 3.

- Coll. vi.

than the occasion warranted. The event, however, was that a
universal agreement was come to that Tobias Matthews, dean
of Christ Church, afterwards archbishop of York, a scholar of a
fluent and ^ ready pen, should draw up a representation ^ (still
extant) in the name of the convocation, for the restitution of
the archbishop to his place. This address, however, notwith-
standing its mo_ying s stjde and due acknowledgment of the re-
gale, when presented to the queen failed of immediate success.
The new prolocutor, Dr. Day, was presented by Tobias
Matthews, and Mr. Williams, archdeacon of London, and*^
having been confirmed, the machinery of the synod was so far
complete that the members proceeded to the transaction of
divers heads of bu.siness proposed. -
Tenets of the ^^^ ' "®^^' heresy of the " Familists " was

"family of love" brOUgllt Uudcr the notice of this .synod, in accord-
brought under the . , , n 1 '

notice of this aucc With the contcuts 01 some letters written on
''^"°' ■ the subject by the lords of the privy council. This

application appears to have been made in accordance with her
majesty's directions, whoJ was displeased with the parliament
now sitting for having taken leave to interfere in ecclesiastical
affairs, subjects with which the queen very prudently con-
ceived that such an assembly was wholly unfitted to deal in
the first instance. She considered very rightly that synods
were the proper assemblies for regulating all matters of
religion, for redressing and amending what was therein
amiss, and that such was " their ^ proper business in meeting
together." Provisions for checking the "familist" heresy
were therefore initiated in the upper house of convocation,
and a message having been sent to the lower, the prolocutor
and six of the clergy appeared and received from their lord-
ships a copy of a schedule of reformation, to be enforced
against the above-mentioned pestilent sect and other recu-
sants. This matter was ' debated in the lower house, but no
conclusion appears to have been arrived at. which would seem
the more to be regretted on account of the desperate principles
maintained by those against whom this schedule was directed.
These "^ heretics were misled into their strange and fantastic
absurdities by feome Dutchmen who had come over to this
country, and \Mio put on an affected garb of sanctity, a.s
though they would thus eloke the odious principles they pro-




pagated. They called themselves "the family of love, or
house of charity," though the quality last named appears not
to have been of an expansive character among them, for they
^auglit that all men out of their own society were incapable of
God's mercies, since all such were, as they said, repro-
bates and doomed to everlasting damnation. Moreover, they
took leave to assert that they themselves were endued with
an extensive privilege of denying any thing they pleased on
oath before a magistrate of a different persuasion from them-
selves. These scandalous doctrines, respecting both the
kingdoms of the next world and of this, were translated from
Dutch into English, and appear to have been penned origi-
nally by one Henry Nicholas, of Leyden, who ultimately
advanced to the last excesses of blasphemy, making himself
out to be some great one, and asserting that he was partaker
of the nature of the Almighty. Such ruinous principles
and blasphemous claims induced the privy council to address
the archbishop with a view to their repression ; but for some
reason unexplained no definite conclusion, so far as appears,
was arrived at by the synod.

At " this time also the bishops selected cer-

Five articles , />« t i i- i

agreed on in this tain chapters from the fifteen °" synodicai articles
^^"° ■ of 1576 N.S., which they thought now peculiarly

necessary, with a view to their being offered for the confirma-
tion of parliament. This schedule, consisting of five articles,
seems ° to have been agreed to, not only by the whole synod,
but by the lower house of parliament, for it was subsequently
transmitted from that assembly to the House of Lords.
The sum of these five articles was —

1. ThatP no bishop should ordain a minister under twenty-
four years of age, or who could not give an account in Latin of
the thirty nine articles, and prove them from texts of scripture.

2. That there should be no commutation of penance, save
on rare occasions, and that even should such be granted, the
person so excused should make some public satisfaction in
the parish church, and that severer penalties should be as-
signed to crimes of adultery, fornication, and incest.

3. That no dispensations should be granted for marriage
without banns, except under large guarantees.

4. That dispensations for plurality of benefices should be

A.D. 1581.
Q. Eliz.

Feb. 3.

nn Vid. Sup

pp. 580, 581

p. -258.

P Strvpe's
Griuilal, /
App. p. !)4.
No. .xiv.




A.D. 1581.






1 Strj-pe's

Grindal, p,


"■ Strype's

Grindal, p.


s St nape's
Grindal, /
App. p. 96.
No. XV.
t Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 300.

" Strype's
Grindal, p.

restricted, and that in any case the applicant should be
bound to reside at each benefice a reasonable time during the

5. That excommunication should not be taken away from
the ecclesiastical judges.

Schedules on On this last subjcct of excommunication i
excommimication there appears to have been some lively debating,
introduced. f^j. ^j^g archbisliop earnestly recommended the ""

consideration of it to this synod, and a paper relating to it
was drawn up by him, or at least by one of his officersi.
Here the writer took notice that excommunication * was not
wont of old to be used as a punishment, save for great and
scandalous offences, and that on such occasions, in addition to
the particular penance imposed by the ordinary, the denunci-
ation of the sentence was read in cathedrals and parish
churches twice a year. He observed that for light faults
excommunication was not , used, save in the instances of
non-appearance in a cause ecclesiastical, or of disobedience to
a sentence pronounced. For a remedy in these cases he
suggested that other means might be used less offensive and
more efficacious than excommunication, and proposed that if
a person after summons or sentence in the ecclesiastical court
should continue forty days without appearing or satisfying,
then instead of being excommunicated he should be pro-
nounced a contemner of ecclesia-stical jurisdiction, and that
this offence should be signified into the chancery. Thus the
person would not be deprived of Church privileges, and instead
of the writ " de excommunicato capiendo " issuing against
him, the process would be by a writ '■'• de contemptore jurisdic-
tionis ecclesiasiiccB capiendo.'''' But still the writer of this
/valuable- paper left primitive usage untouched in certain
instances, and advised that in all cases of great and scandalous
crimes the archbishops and bishops, with such a.ssistance as
might be needful, should declare and execute sentences of
excommunication as of old.

Another paper w^as also produced on the same subject in
this synod, of which " the substance was that excommunica-
tion should be used only as a punishment for greater crimes,
and that for less ones su.spension and imprisonment should be
the penalties. The manner also in which these were to be




inflicted was specified : either by warrant directed from the
bishop to the sheriff or a justice for attaching and committing
the offender, or by consigning him to prison under the direc-
tion of the bishop himself.

Subject of pe- In addition to this attention bestowed upon
nance introduced, ^j^g highest ceusurc of the Church, the subject
of penance for open and scandalous sins was brought under the
notice of this synod. And that this part of ecclesiastical
discipline might not abide as a mere shadow, but produce a
good effect, leading sinners to amendment, and serving as a
warning to other men, the archbishop himself, now restored to
liberty, devised a form of penance, and laid it before the

Form of pe- According' to the archbishop's proposal, a
nance proposed sermon Or homily, meet for the occasion, was to

by Archbishop i i . . , ,. , mi

Grindai to this be read, and durmg its delivery the otiender
^^°° ■ was to stand bareheaded, clad in a sheet or

some other garb of distinction, on a board opposite to the
pulpit, and raised a foot and a half at least from the church
floor. Questions also were to be put to the penitent which
he was to answer, touching the truth of the allegations
against him, the grievousness of his offence, the divine punish-
ment incurred, and the evil example exhibited. Next he was
to be interrogated respecting his hearty repentance, his desire
for forgiveness, and his determinations of amendment. The
preacher then was to desire the prayers of the congregation
for the penitent. Some provisions, however, were ap-
pended to the paper, to this effect, that when the penitent
appeared untouched by the solemnity, or shewed any marks
of irreverence, he was to be removed from the church to
the market-place, in order that although he derived no
benefit from the occasion himself, others might yet be
warned by his example. The wearing of the sheet in the
first instance might be commuted by a gift of money to
the poor, but if the offender appearing obstinate was put
a second time to penance, no commutation was to be al-

The foregoing subjects which occupied this synod seem to
have been the foundations ^ on which were laid some articles
agreed on synodically about five or six years subsequently,

A.D. 1581.
Q. Eliz.

^ Strvpe's
Gi-indal, p.
■261. Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iv. 298.



Grindai, p.
262, and
A pp. p. 98.
No. xvi.




A.D. 1581.






" Sess. 8.
Feb. 17, and
Card. Syn.
li. 543.

y Coll. vol.

ix. Records,
No. 89.
A.D. 1584.

* Cone.
Mag Brit,
iv. 306—

* Strype's
Ann. iii.
Whitgift, p.
210. Coll.
vii. 41.
Card. Syn.
ii. 552.

•> Fuller,
Ch. Hist,
b.ix.p. 173.
c 1 Tim. vi.
13, 14.

e Sess. 2.
Dec. 2.

f Fuller,
b. ix.p. 17.3.

and wliicli were then offered to parliament for confirmation :
but of these in their proper place hereafter.

Temporal busi- The temporal business transacted in this
"''^^' synod was confined to the subsidy^ granted,

and a petition ^ addressed to the as.seml)ly by the London
clergy against the frauds practised in the city for evading the
just payment of tithes. ^

,,„ ,, . On the 24th ^ of November, 1584, the two

All. 1 rovin-

cial synods of provincial syuods of England met concurrently.
In the northern synod, however, the business
seems to have been confined to granting a subsidy.

Canterbury Sy- The soutliem syuod '^ assembled at S. Paul's
nod of 1584. under the presidency of the new archbishop.

Dr. Whitgift. The Latin sermon on this occasion, which is
represented ^ as having been a most learned production, was
preached by Ur. John Copcot, afterwards master of Benet
College, Cambridge, who took these words for his text; " I "
give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all
things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate
witnessed a good confession ; that thou keep this command-
ment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our
Lord Jesus Christ."

nr. Redman Dr. William Redman ^, archdeacon of Canter-

pro ocutor. bury, was chosen prolocutor of the lower house ;

and the usual business such as the Bishop of London's
return to the archiepiscopal mandate, the examination of the
bishops' certificates of having duly summoned their clergy, the
investigation of proxies, and the sentences of contumacy were
dispatched according to custom. The synod was then continued
to Westminster^, where, in the second session, the dean's
protestation of privilege was received. Dr. Redman presented
and admitted as prolocutor, and the clergy admonished to take
measures for reforming abuses in the Church, and for provid-
ing their subsidy to the queen.

Parliamentary Archbisliop \Vliitgift was prevented from a
enTe^'in churdi coustaut attendance in this synod, being obliged
matters. ^q ]jp present in his place in parliament. This

was rendered necessary on account of the endeavours *' then
made in that assembly to interfere in ecclesiastical business ;
and to this course some of the members were urged by the




convention of preachers now held in London. The parhament
was inchned to hsten to their suggestions ; but the queen in-
terposed rightly, and would not permit puritan leaven to be
introduced into the Church by such means. The archbishop,
indeed, addressed her majesty on the subject, in a letter
deprecating parliamentary interference in matters which really
were beyond their cognizance ; and the queen proved her-
self equal to the occasion ^ by restraining such abuses.
On account of the archbishop's constant attendance in parlia-
ment, which was rendered so necessary on the foregoing
account, he appointed five bishops ^ his vicar-general Dr.
Dunne, and Redman the prolocutor, as commissioners, with
power to preside and to act in his place in the matter of

Temporal busi- "^^^^ vicars of the province early in the ses-
"''^^- sions presented a petition' to the synod for

some steps to be taken favourable to their order in a pecu-
niary point of view ; and the subsidy of six shillings in the
pound, payable in three years to the crown, was also agreed J

John Hilton's The ancient right of the convocation to sum-
penance. ^^-^^^ offenders against the ecclesiastical laws,

and to try and punish heresy, was exercised in this synod.
John Hilton, a clerk, and one Thomas Shoveler were both ^
convened ; the former for blasphemy, the latter for having
exercised the ministerial office not being in holy orders. This
Hilton had been imprisoned by the High Commission Court
for his enormities ; but was now brought before a tribunal
which upon consideration carries with it a more pi-imitive
appearance, and accords more closely with the models of the
early Christian Church. The accused came before the synod '
four days after the order was made for his appearance, and
confessed that in a sermon preached by him at S. Martin-in-
the- Fields he had depraved the Bible, blasphemed our blessed
Saviour, and, in fact, declared himself a heathen. His shock-
ing opinions and impious tenets he however now abjured " in
writing. Upon this submission the synod bid him no more
hold nor teach such heresies and blasphemies. In addition to
this admonition there was added the following penance : first,
that he should attend at the sermon at S. Paul's cross on the

A.D. 1584.

q. Eiiz.

g Fuller,
b. ix. p. 173.

I' Card. Syn.
ii. 55)5.
Whitgift, p.

■* Strvpe's
Whitgift, I),

• Sess. 9.
Dec. 22.

™ Strype's
p. 211, and
Coll. vii.41.




A. D. 1584.

John Whit-
gift, Edwyn

n Fuller,
Ch. Hist,
b. ix. p. 176.



Whitgift, p.


P Strype's

Whitgift, p.

209, and

App. No.




p. 193.

Card. Svn.

p. 139. '

<i Strype's

Whitgift, p.


<iq Vid. infra,

pp. 612-13.

A.D. 1585.

■■ Strype's

Whitgift, p.


» Nov. 24,


Online LibraryJames Wayland JoyceEngland's sacred synods : a constitutional history of the convocations of the clergy, from the earliest records of Christianity in Britain to the date of the promulgation of the present Book of common prayer; including a list of all councils, ecclesiastical as well as civil, held in England, in whic → online text (page 64 of 83)